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Nick Wachira, F08, F10

About him

Nick Wachira, F08, F10, is pursuing a master's degree in international business at The Fletcher School, and has been researching the mobile-banking phenomenon in his native Kenya for a case study in microfinance. He was a former managing editor of the Business Daily of Nairobi and says he was drawn to Fletcher because of its multidisciplinary approach to education. "This has allowed me to bridge my interest in business and international affairs, which I had been exposed to as a financial journalist."

About this research

Mobile banking gives secure access to financial transactions for people who are poor or isolated and who would otherwise not be able to fully take part in the economy. "This is a big deal for a continent like Africa where nearly two-thirds of the population have no access to a basic bank account and keep their savings under the mattress," says Wachira. He has joined with Fletcher classmates to initiate a conference on regulation of mobile banking in Kenya this May. The "M-Banking 2009" conference hosted by the Fletcher's Center for Emerging Market Enterprises and the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, which is owned by the Central Bank of Kenya and the country's Ministry of Finance, will focus on how to balance regulation and innovation in the emerging field of mobile money transfers in Kenya and around the world.

How this was made possible

A generous gift by Thomas Schmidheiny, H99, and his wife, Suzanne, established Fletcher's Master of International Business degree program that has enabled Wachira to take his interest in technological development a step further.

"I am optimistic that a combination of good political leadership and technology can be used to advance development in this part of the world," Wachira says.